Italians Take Their Crooners Seriously


 andre bocelli in white**Here’s a link to hear one of Bocelli’s most famous songs…Click on it, to get in the mood.

On a recent shopping excursion to the Mall, husband and I sat, having a coffee, focused on the big TV screen, front and center, where we saw a tall, handsome man, dressed in white cable-knit sweater, with matching off-white slacks.  He was singing a Christmas medley. 

Next, he did a duet with Natalie Cole, the daughter of that other famous crooner, Nat King Cole. It was some sort of concert special, for the audience were all regaled in their best, and it appeared to be a warm venue (ladies wore fancier sleeveless apparel.)

The set behind the singer kept changing, depending upon the songs he sang.  The one that really amazed me was when stage crew wheeled a backdrop of a roaring fire onto the stage, for the perennial classic “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.”

While we watched, another shopper arrived and sat at the next table.  She leaned over in our direction and announced, proudly:  “You know—I’ve seen him, personally….twice”

I said, “Really?” Not so much in registering disbelief as in trying to be sociable.

I then followed that up with:  “It’s Jose Feliciano…right?”

The woman stared slack-jawed, at me, trying to contain her presumed outrage.

“You think that is Jose Feliciano?” she said, with as much scorn as she could muster for someone who’d just about suggested that wonderful old Italian witch, the Befana  had pooped on the Christmas Manger!

She then corrected me, in a stern voice:  “No, that’s Andrea Bocelli.” 

I must admit:  Getting this virtuoso, operatic Bocelli confused with Jose Feliciano probably did smack of supreme heresy, to a certified Bocelli fan, but I admit:  I’m not a follower of the music icons.

I guess it didn’t help, either, that Jose Feliciano emigrated from Puerto Rico to the United States, where he became a Pop legend.

Nope, in the vernacular of today, confusing the two was “my bad.”

Andrea Bocelli enjoys God-like status to his legions of fans (like this woman.)

In retrospect, I think the whole thing was inordinately funny, although this woman hardly saw it in this manner. She doubtless believed I was an unschooled imbecile who had little appreciation for the finer things of life.

Lesson here:  Never guess the identity of a singer who’s delivering a Christmas concert….not to Italian fans, anyway. There’s just no forgiving the fool who mixes up Feliciano with Bocelli.

In fact, there’s no forgiving a fool who mixes up anybody with Andrea Bocelli….

That vaulted singer apparently occupies a league all his own.

(Here’s the one I confused Bocelli with–Jose Feliciano.) One doesn’t do that, with Italians..jose feliciano.In my defense, both men are handsome; they’re both blind; and they’re both singers.  It’s just that one of them (Felciano) is definitely NOT Italian (even if he does have a lot of vowels in his name.)

And furthermore, if I did confuse, others confuse Bocelli with that operatic marvel, Pavarotti…Here’s a link to demonstrate Pavarotti’s power. Some Italians don’t even consider Bocelli a virtuoso of opera, so they even argue among themselves…Just saying…

“Merry Christmas to you from one who likes the music of each, even if I draw no distinction among them…. I simply appreciate them all.”

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A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog,, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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